|A Look Back: I’m shown above in Monte Carlo, another highlight of my year. This destination speaks to me because it’s all about the jet-set lifestyle and unabashedly so.|
In this issue of Luxury Travel Advisor, I wanted to share with you my top experiences for 2012. These are based on visits I made this year, either for business trips or familiarization opportunities. In many cases, if I was traveling on business to a destination, I tried to stop in to see the latest offerings. Here goes:
Top Bathroom: The Bulgari, London: Black travertine marble floors; a huge, freestanding tub with a view (shown left); and a separate room and double sinks in the WC. At night, tea candles and incense-lit tubside were a special treat.
Top Butler Service: The Bulgari, London also gets my vote for butler service. Why? Florentine wasn’t clingy or overbearing. He was consultative and helpful. When I saw him, I didn’t want to run the other way as I do in some hotels that have butlers.
Top DMC, USA: Artisan Wine Tours: A day with Lyn Durling in Sonoma will make you feel educated on all things wine, plus, you’ll feel you’re best friends with some of the top vintners in the county by the time the sun is setting.
Top Hotel Worldwide: Leela Palace, New Delhi: I’ve never used the phrase “seven star” before, but I’m using it on this hotel which is larger than life, from its uber-luxe furniture and fixtures to its very gentle, intuitive service.
Top Caribbean Resort: The Crane, Barbados: A villa with its own pool here with views of the ocean crashing in the distance is the antidote to whatever ails you...I actually had that sad “I don’t want to leave here” pang when I had to go home.
|The bathroom of a Studio Suite at The Bulgari Hotel, London.|
Top U.S. Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is buzzing with locals and classy visitors and its Club Floor is the most extravagant I’ve seen in a Ritz-Carlton, and I’ve seen a lot. It’s chic and old-world charming and on Friday night they wheeled around a cart with caviar and all the fixings.
Favorite New U.S. City: Savannah, GA: This historic city is sultry and elegant and filled with oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. I loved the Mansion on Forsyth Park and was delighted to drive past a new Andaz hotel on a recent trip.
Best Global Car Service: Groundlink.com: I discovered this company earlier this year and have taken them in London, Beverly Hills, Miami and New York. They have access to inventory from car companies throughout the world.
Best Domestic Airline: They don’t yell at me on JetBlue and on certain days, that’s all I ask for. But the customer service is friendly and there are no bad seats on the planes, all have good legroom and the TVs are great. When I am booked on JetBlue my heart sings. It’s all about the journey.
On my bucket list for 2013? Vienna, South Africa’s wine country, more of Savannah, New Orleans and Charleston, SC. More experiences with top ground tour operators as I now see how they can make or break an experience. I want to see the tigers in India and visit Myanmar, too. Every year I say I’m going back to Paris but never quite make it. And who can ever get enough of London, especially with all the hotels opening there?
What’s on your list?